August 2023 Newsletter

In Loving Memory

With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of one of our own, Marra Lochiatto. As a cherished member of our Reading Power family, Marra's profound impact as a Board member, donor, tutor, and dedicated supporter will forever be etched in our memories.

Marra's immense contributions to Reading Power were exceptional, a testament to her unwavering commitment to early literacy education. She began her journey with us as a tutor in 2011 and later joined the Board of Directors in 2018, ultimately serving as Vice Chairman. Under her leadership, the Play for Literacy Golf & Games event flourished, becoming a vital source of support for our organization. Since its inception in 2021, Marra's tireless efforts have helped raise over $500,000.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Lochiatto family during this difficult time. Marra's light will forever shine in our hearts, and her legacy will continue to inspire us to make a lasting impact on the lives of others— just as she did.

Play For A Purpose

Reading Power's third annual Play for Literacy Golf & Games event is just one month away! Join us at Knollwood Club in Lake Forest, IL., on September 18, 2023. To purchase golf, games, or our cocktail and dinner reception tickets, visit

Welcome Aboard

Reading Power is led by reading professionals and powered by trained volunteers. As we expand this academic year into two new districts and four new schools, we have added eight new program staff members to the team. With our existing staff, Reading Power will serve 600 students in North Chicago, Zion, Waukegan, Wheeling, and Palatine, IL, schools this year.

Susan Olefsky, MEd: Site Coordinator at Robbie M. Lightfoot Early Learning Center in Waukegan

Emily Sampson, BA: Assistant Site Coordinator at Little Fort Elementary School in Waukegan

Randi Klawans, MEd: Site Coordinator at Twain Elementary School in Wheeling

Jen Barnabee, MEd: Program Specialist and Site Coordinator at Oakdale Kindergarten in Waukegan

Kristy Pfeffer, BA: Assistant Site Coordinator at Twain School in Wheeling

Carole Klein-Alexander, MAT: Assistant Site Coordinator at Beulah Park School in Zion

Katie Michols, MEd: Site Coordinator at Learn 10 School in North Chicago

Mandy Siegel, MEd: Site Coordinator at Little Fort Elementary School in Waukegan

Ready, Set, Tutor!

Please join us for our 2023 Tutor Kick-Off Celebration Wednesday, August 30th at 9 AM at Greenbelt Cultural Center. RSVP HERE 

In addition to our kickoff celebration, all new tutors are required (and returning tutors are welcome) to attend our training. If you haven’t already, please register for your sessions HERE

Let Us Introduce Ourselves

We are thrilled to share a glimpse into Reading Power and our mission to foster the promise of literacy in this recently completed video. Thank you to the Reichert Family Foundation for funding for this important project.

Shop Til You Drop

This back-to-school season help us maximize our program's impact by purchasing school supplies for our new and existing school sites directly from our Target registry. By doing so, we can allocate more funds toward fulfilling critical program needs and providing the best educational experience for our Reading Power students. Thank you to those who have already contributed. So far, we have saved nearly $1000 on supplies that will now go directly to programming.

Shop Or Share Our Target Registry Today!

Our Mission

Our mission is to accelerate children’s literacy learning and develop their love for reading and writing 

Our Vision

We envision a world where all children have a strong literacy foundation to support lifelong learning

Reading Power Board of Directors

Kathy McFarland, PhD, Chairman

Kathleen Cowie, Vice Chairman

Jim Young, MBA, Treasurer

Ann Bates, EdD, Secretary

Joanie Alley, MSEd

Rob Davis, JD, MBA

Mary Jane Hender, EdD

Todd Litzsinger

Marra Lochiatto, MBA

Rahul Malhotra, MBA

Jonathan McGee, MBA

Melinda Mooney

Sara Poticha

Jacalyn Ramdin-Johnson, MBA

Beverly Raudabaugh, MBA

Frank Sibley

Peter Ting, CPA

Arthur Turner

Mary Weber, MA

Rev. Dr. Gordon Butcher, DMin, Emeritus

Reading Power Program Staff

Lisa Bulzoni, MEd, CEO 

Kristin Fine, MEd, Director of Programs

Viri Perez, MEd, Associate Director of Programs

Jen Barnabee, MEd, Program Specialist and Site Coordinato

Kate Burke, BS, Marketing and Communications Manager

Susan Morris, MBA, Events Manager

Beth Zender, MEd, Volunteer Coordinator

Daniela Cruz, Office Manager

Melayna Pokorny, BA, Office Assistant 

Katie Burdiak, BA, Assistant Site Coordinator

Julie Collishaw, MA, Site Coordinator

Brooke Davis, MEd, Site Coordinator

Julie DiGuiseppe, BS, Assistant Site Coordinator

Andrea Glickman, MAEd, Site Coordinator

Marla Guziec, BS, Site Coordinator

Randi Klawans, MEd, Site Coordinator 

Carole Klein-Alexander, MAT, Assistant Site Coordinator 

Melissa Kumin, MEd, Site Coordinator

Aimee Lewis, MEd, Site Coordinator

Debbie Loring, MSEd, Site Coordinator

Katie Michols, MEd, Site Coordinator

Susie Olefsky, MEd, Site Coordinator 

Kristy Pfeffer, BA, Assistant Site Coordinator 

Cathy Plate, MSEd, Assistant Site Coordinator

Heather Rosenblatt, MAT, Site Coordinator

Emily Sampson, BA, Assistant Site Coordinator 

Nancy Shorris, BS, Assistant Site Coordinator

Mandy Siegel, MEd, Site Coordinator 

Elizabeth Soling, AA, Assistant Site Coordinator

Summer Zilisch, Assistant Site Coordinator

Victoria Zilisch, BA, Assistant Site Coordinator 

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